When U.S. District Judge Brian Miller sentenced former Arkansas Judge Michael Maggio to 10 years in prison for lowering a jury verdict after taking a bribe given as campaign money, he harshly criticized the former jurist.
“What is worse, a dope dealer on the phone talking about a dope deal or a dirty judge?” Miller said, according to The Times Record. “A dirty judge is by far more harmful to society than any dope dealer.”
The Times Record reported that a debate about reforming the selection of judges is under way in Arkansas, and quoted Justice at Stake Executive Director Susan Liss.
“The bribery conviction of former judge Mike Maggio, along with million-dollar-plus spending in this year’s Arkansas Supreme Court elections, spotlights the urgent need to reform the way Arkansas chooses its judges,” Liss said (see Gavel Grab). “We believe a merit-based system of appointing judges is the best way to select qualified judges and insulate them from politics and deep-pocketed donors.”